Monday, 14 January 2019

(359) Banks of Highmoor House

Banks of Highmoor
In 1800, the Banks family had been weavers at Keswick (Cumbld.) for several generations, but the sons of William Banks (1780-1860) branched out into other industries. The eldest son, Joseph Banks (1807-60) became a successful pencil manufacturer at Keswick, and the firm he founded survived until 1894, when it was taken over by Hogarth & Hayes, whose successors (after many subsequent takeovers) are still in business today at Workington (Cumbld.). Joseph's younger brother, William Banks (1811-78) was initially intended for the family weaving business, but at his own request was sent to London where he obtained a position with a retail draper. In 1835 he returned to Cumbria as manager for the cotton and linen manufacturing and exporting business run by Joseph Hodge (d. 1846) and his sister Jane (d. 1841). Neither of the principals had any children, and on the death of Joseph Hodge he inherited not only the business but also Hodge's villa near Wigton called High Moor (or Highmoor) House. Once in control of the business, William refocused it on the export of clothing to Australia, where the Gold Rush had caused a rapid increase in demand. He opened a warehouse in Melbourne in 1852, and recruited his younger brother, Thomas Donald Banks (1823-54), who went out to Australia as the local manager, although he died soon afterwards. The firm prospered, and William marked his success by the addition of a tall belvedere tower to Highmoor. When he died in 1878, William was a wealthy man (although later reports that he was a millionaire were greatly exaggerated). He had educated his two sons for the law, and both of them were called to the bar. The elder, Henry Pearson Banks (1844-91), maintained a set of chambers in the Temple where he seems to have spent most of his time, although if he had any legal practice it had ceased well before his death. He seems to have had no involvement with his father's business, but he did hold a number of public appointments in Cumberland, which argues that he must have spent some time there. His younger brother, Edwin Hodge Banks (1847-1917) did join the family firm, of which he became senior partner after his father's death and until he retired in 1888. He then devoted himself to public life, and to farming and horse-breeding, in which he achieved considerable success. Unfortunately he also made some unwise investments and became an underwriting member of Lloyds: by 1907 he had accumulated losses of nearly £100,000 from these two sources, and he was made bankrupt the following year. The Highmoor estate was sold, and he was obliged to terminate his public appointments and retire to the south coast, where he lived in very modest circumstances until his death in 1917. Highmoor was sold again soon after his death and was divided into flats in the 1930s.

Highmoor House, Wigton, Cumberland

Highmoor Mansion: the house of 1810 in the foreground, with the tower and extensions of the 1870s and 1880s behind.
The house began as a five bay two storey stuccoed villa with a pediment over the central three bays, built from 1817 onwards for John Hodge and completed by his son, Joseph. This building still forms the east end of the house, but has lost its glazing bars and any period interiors it once possessed and is now painted a distressing Germolene pink. It was enlarged to the west in about 1870 for William Banks, who added a tall Italianate belvedere tower in stone, and enclosed the park with two miles of iron fencing. In 1885-87, his sons made the tower into a folly, raising its height to an excessive 136 feet, and installing a great bell called Big Joe and a full Belgian carillon, housed in an elaborate and frankly rather vulgar superstructure of 'Mixed Renaissance' pedigree.
Highmoor Mansion: the tower favoured by dramatic
lighting. Image: P. Stephenson. Some rights reserved.
They also extended the house further, adding irregular two-storeyed stuccoed ranges that wrap around the base of the tower. The architect is unknown, but may have been Charles Ferguson (who designed the Skinburness Hotel for the family in 1878) or the estate builder, James Henderson, who built the hotel and to whom 'was entrusted the important work of beautifying Highmoor House by the erection of the fine and unique tower' as his obituary put it. He was also responsible for building the two lodges (known as 'Alpha' and 'Omega') on Lowmoor Road to the north, which have applied half-timbering, tile-hanging, rustic bamboo supports for the porches and dragon finials. In 1909 the estate was sold, and 
the mansion was converted into flats in 1934-35 (renovated in 1972). From the 1930s the grounds have been developed for housing, which now crowds uncomfortably close to the house.

Descent: sold by Mrs. Campbell in 1817 to John Hodge; to son, Joseph Hodge (d. 1846); to William Banks (1811-78); to widow, Sarah Barwise Banks (1813-1901); to son, Edwin Hodge Banks (1847-1917); sold 1909 to Elizabeth Bell, whose trustees leased it, apparently as several properties, and sold 1920 to J. Coulthard of Wigton...sold to Ernest Thompson, property developer, who divided the house into fourteen flats in 1934-35.

Banks family of Highmoor

Banks, William (1780-1860). Fourth and youngest son of Joseph Banks of Keswick (Cumbld.) and his wife Mary, daughter of Abel Grave, baptised at Crosthwaite, 9 June 1780. Woollen manufacturer at Keswick; described as a gentleman at the time of his death. He married, 13 April 1800 at Crosthwaite, Sarah (1783-1856), daughter of John Pearson of Greenside Hall (Cumbld.) and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Banks (1801-23), born 10 June 1800 and baptised at Crosthwaite, 1 January 1801; died in London, 5 June 1823 and was buried at Islington, 9 June 1823;
(2) Mary Banks (1802-60), baptised at Crosthwaite, 23 May 1802; married, 6 April 1830 at Crosthwaite, Adam Bird (1800-64), and had issue three sons and four daughters; died at Embleton (Cumbld), 23 June 1860;
(3) Dinah Banks (1804-76), baptised at Crosthwaite, 4 November 1804; married, 12 April 1835 at St Leonard, Shoreditch (Middx), John Dunglinson (1791-1860) and has issue two sons and three daughters; died in London, 12 December 1876; will proved 2 January 1877 (effects under £450);
(4) Joseph Banks (1807-60), born 20 June 1807; trained as a weaver but became a pencil manufacturer (Banks, son & Co.) at Keswick from 1833; married 13 June 1829 at Crosthwaite, Ann Raven (1811-71), and had issue two sons and ten daughters; died 2 June 1860 and was buried at Crosthwaite; administration of goods granted to his widow, 6 September 1860 (effects under £3,000);
(5) John Banks (1809-10), baptised 22 September 1809; died in infancy and was buried at Keswick, 18 February 1810;
(6) William Banks (1811-78) (q.v.);
(7) Rebecca Banks (1813-76), born 2 December 1813 and baptised at Crosthwaite, 14 January 1814; married, 2 August 1837 at Crosthwaite, Thomas Pridmore (1806-79) and had issue five sons and two daughters; died 26 December and was buried at Crosthwaite, 29 December 1876;
(8) Ann Banks (1816-76), born 24 June 1816; died unmarried and was buried at Crosthwaite, 27 January 1876;
(9) John Banks (1819-47), baptised at Crosthwaite, 3 January 1819; married, 9 April 1846 at Crosthwaite, Isabella Henderson (1814-88) and had issue one daughter; died at Wigton, 3 December 1847;
(10) Sarah Banks (1821-25), baptised at Crosthwaite, 11 November 1821; died young, 4 February and was buried at Crosthwaite, 6 February 1825;
(11) Thomas Donald Banks (1823-54), baptised at Crosthwaite, 14 December 1823; partner with his elder brother William in Banks Bros, Bell & Co., for whom he acted as representative in Australia; died unmarried at St Kilda, Melbourne (Australia), 30 January 1854 and was buried in Melbourne General Cemetery, where he is commemorated by a tombstone;
(12) Pearson Banks (1827-33), baptised at Crosthwaite, 9 December 1827; died young, 2 November 1833.
He lived at Keswick.
He died at Greta Cottage, Keswick, 13 January 1860; his will was proved 26 May 1860 (effects under £1,500). His wife was buried at Crosthwaite, 26 April 1856.

Banks, William (1811-78). Second surviving son of William Banks (d. 1860) of Keswick, and his wife Sarah, daughter of John Pearson of Greenside Hall (Cumbld.), born at Keswick, 16 January and baptised at Crosthwaite, 25 November 1811. He began his career in business in the late 1820s with Messrs. Flint, Ray & Co., retail drapers in London, and then moved to Wigton in 1835 to join the linen and cotton goods manufacturing and export business of Joseph Hodge and his sister Jane. After the death of Joseph Hodge in 1846 he took over the firm, and in 1852 he opened a warehouse in Melbourne (Australia), with his brother T.D. Banks as local representative. The firm became Banks Bros, Bell & Co., and became perhaps the largest business exporting clothing and later other goods to Australia. He was a JP and DL for Cumberland; High Sheriff of Cumberland, 1871; Chairman of the Wigton Water Works Company, the Wigton Local Board of Health, and the Wigton Highway Board. He was a Conservative in politics, stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Carlisle in 1873, and at the time of his death was the prospective parliamentary candidate for Berwick-on-Tweed. In his later years he spent the winters in Italy for his health, where ironically he contracted his fatal illness. He married, 16 November 1843, Sarah Barwise (1813-1901), daughter of William Dand of Monkhill (Cumbld.), and had issue:
(1) Henry Pearson Banks (1844-91), born at Monkhill (Cumbld), 5 March 1844; educated at Jesus College, Cambridge (matriculated 1864; BA 1871; MA 1874) and Inner Temple (admitted 1871; called to bar, 1874); barrister-at-law but did not practice; JP (from 1871) and DL for Cumberland; High Sheriff of Cumberland, 1886; a Conservative in politics, and with his younger brother jointly funded the building of Wigton Conservative Club; a freemason from 1884; died unmarried at Hastings (Sussex), 19 January 1891; administration of his goods was granted to his brother, 7 March 1891 (effects £17,463).
(2) Edwin Hodge Banks (1847-1917) (q.v.).
He inherited Highmoor in 1846 under the will of his friend and business associate, Joseph Hodge. He apparently bequeathed it to his widow for life.
He died of malaria in London, 1 May 1878; his will was proved at Carlisle, 21 May 1878 (effects in England under £140,000) and administration of his goods in Australia was granted 27 May 1880 at Melbourne (estate £33,025). His widow died 6 September 1901.

Edwin Hodge Banks (1847-1917)
Banks, Edwin Hodge (1847-1917). Younger son of William Banks (1811-78) of Highmoor and his wife Sarah Barwise Dand, born 7 April and baptised at Wigton, 28 July 1847. Educated at Jesus College, Cambridge (matriculated 1866; BA 1870; MA 1874) and Inner Temple (admitted 1868; called to bar, 1873). Barrister-at-law, but he did not practice law and instead joined the family firm (Banks Bros, Ball & Co.), from which he retired in 1888; he was thereafter an underwriter with Lloyds. His obituarist called him 'a man of few words but many deeds' and he led a full public life until his bankruptcy in 1908, when he had sustained debts of nearly £100,000 through losses at Lloyds and on other investments. He served as an officer in Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry Cavalry (Capt.) and Wigton Volunteer Corps (Ensign) and was JP and DL for Cumberland and High Sheriff of Cumberland, 1889. He was a Conservative in politics, and served as such as County Councillor for Wigton, 1889-1908; Chairman of Wigton Local Board, 1878-88 and Urban District Council, 1888-1908. He was a director of the Wigton Gas Company and Wigton Market House Company, a trustee of the Hodge Charity, a Governor of the Nelson School and Thomlinson School, and a manager of four local schools. He was a freemason from 1869 and was noted for his philanthropy in the Wigton area, including building and equipping the public baths, and refitting the interior of Wigton church. In private life, he had a particular interest in breeding thoroughbred horses for racing, and had some success in this area as 'Old Joe', which he had bred but sold, won the Grand National in 1886. He was unmarried and had no issue.
He inherited Highmoor on the death of his mother in 1901, but it was sold following his bankruptcy in 1908.
He died in Brighton, 20 August 1917 and was cremated at Norwood before his ashes were interred in the family mausoleum at Wigton; his will was proved 12 November 1917 (estate £396).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1924, p. 74; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, pp. 686-87.

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Sable, a cross engrailed or, between, in the 1st and 4th quarters, a bear rampant or, muzzled gules, and in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, a fleur-de-lis or.

Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry

  • I would be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above. 
  • As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 14 January 2019.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

(358) Bankes of Winstanley Hall

Bankes of Winstanley
The Bankes family were settled in Wigan by the 15th century and for several generations were pewterers in the town. In the mid 16th century, James Bankes (1542-1617), with whom the genealogy below begins, was sent to London to be apprenticed to a goldsmith. His master may well have been John Ballett, whose business partner he became and whose daughter he married as his first wife. At this period, goldsmiths functioned as bankers and also lent money on interest, and James became wealthy on the profits of this trade. From about 1576, he began to invest surplus money in land (and especially coal-bearing land), which not only offered greater security than money lent on bond, but had the advantage of conferring social status on the possessor. His purchases were mainly in the Wigan area, but also included the manor of Greet near Birmingham. Between 1590 and 1592, James retired from business and moved back to Wigan, where in 1596 he bought the manor of Winstanley and built the earliest part of Winstanley Hall. At much the same time, he married his second wife (his first wife and his son by her having died some years earlier) and produced a second family. His life is unusually well documented for the period, thanks to the survival of his memorandum book and a number of legal cases in which he was involved, but it remains curiously difficult to form a consistent picture of his character. When he was younger, and building up his estate, he was litigious and abrasive and engaged in some sharp business practice. The rector of Wigan, with whom he had a dispute about tithes, thought him 'a proud and insolent man'. But his memorandum book, written in his later years for his children, is couched in pious terms and contains much advice on estate management which amounts to advice to consider your tenants' interests as well as your own; perhaps that was the fruit of bitter experience, or perhaps he softened in old age!

When James Bankes died in 1617, his property passed to his eldest son, William Bankes (1593-1666), who had been educated at Grays Inn to equip him with the sort of legal knowledge useful in estate management (his younger brother, who entered the same inn at the same time, was called to the bar, and became a barrister in London). William is a shadowy figure by comparison with his father, but by dint of staying carefully out of politics, he seems to have managed to remain neutral during the English Civil War, and to have preserved his estate without impairment. His son, William Bankes (1631-76), by contrast, entered public life at the Restoration and was clearly sympathetic to the Court faction. He had a powerful sponsor in the form of Charles Stanley (d. 1672), 8th Earl of Derby, who found him a seat in Parliament and persuaded a reluctant King Charles II that he was of sufficient standing to become a Deputy Lieutenant. But it would seem that his religious sympathies were more radical than his political views, as he employed a deprived minister as tutor to his children: it may be that a similar ambivalence had motivated his father's neutrality.

William was succeeded by his son William Bankes (1658-90), whose public career was along much the same lines as his father's, but was cut short when he died aged 32. He was married but had no children, so the Winstanley estate passed to his younger brother, Thomas Bankes (1659-1728), who had a large family (many of whom died in infancy) but no public career. Thomas was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Robert Bankes (1699-1748), who went to Cambridge and evidently had scientific interests, as he later became a Fellow of the Royal Society, but who again died unmarried. He was followed by his younger brother, William Bankes (1709-75), about whom even less can be said, although it seems likely that he began the exploitation of the coal reserves on the estate for more than purely local consumption. His only surviving son, William Bankes (1751-1800), undertook the first recorded remodelling of Winstanley Hall in about 1780, but again had no children, and with him the continuous male line descent of the estate came to an end. He bequeathed his property to his first cousin, the Rev. Thomas Holme (1732-1803), who lived at Holland House, Upholland, and when he died soon afterwards the estate came to his eldest surviving son, Meyrick Holme (1768-1827), who took the name Bankes in 1804. Meyrick had a career as an officer in the Royal Navy, but retired some time in the 1790s as a lieutenant; he then served as a militia officer before inheriting Winstanley, and going on to become High Sheriff and a Deputy Lieutenant. He continued the process of developing coal working on the estate, and the profits of this enabled him to enlarge and remodel Winstanley Hall in 1818-19. It was, however, his son, another Meyrick Bankes (1811-81), who finally put coal mining on the estate onto a fully commercial basis, establishing coal depots in Liverpool and Manchester from which his coal was distributed directly to customers, and hugely increasing the scale of production.

In the 19th century, the profits of coal mining made the Bankes family a great deal richer than they had been before. In the 1830s, Meyrick Bankes, who took little part in public life and was 'of a retiring disposition', bought several large and contiguous properties in north-west Ross-shire to form the Letterewe estate, which was used as a late summer and autumn retreat for shooting and deer stalking. Over time, a series of large houses were built on this estate for members of his family. The earliest may have been Gruinard House, a curiously English neo-Tudor house which may have been built soon after Bankes purchased the property in 1835; Letterewe itself was rebuilt in about 1858; while Drumchork House at Aultbea was under construction for his eldest son in 1881-82; and was unfinished when first the father and then the son died within a few months of each other. 

In later life, Meyrick Bankes became increasingly eccentric, and he left separate wills respecting his English and Scottish property which were extremely complex, highly manipulative of his children, and provided lucrative work for lawyers for years afterwards. One of his principal objectives seems to have been to separate the ownership of Winstanley and Letterewe, and this he achieved. What he did not foresee was that both his legitimate sons would die without issue within a year of his will being proved. The effect of the wills was therefore that his eldest daughter, Eleanor (1837-1907), inherited the Winstanley estate, while his second daughter, Maria Ann (1839-1904) received Letterewe. Eleanor was married to William John Murray (1835-84), who owned a small estate of his own in Ross-shire but who was already confined in an Edinburgh asylum by the time his wife came into Winstanley. After he died, Eleanor joined forces with her second son to buy Balconie Castle (Ross-shire), which took the place of Letterewe as a base for Scottish holidays from 1890 onwards and remained in the family until the Second World War. Maria Ann had married Lt-Gen W.C. Robertson Macdonald of Kinlochmoidart, but divorced him in 1881 and married a Frenchman of modest physical stature, Paul Liot, who took the name Bankes and threw himself rather improbably into Highland life, where he became known as the 'pocket French laird'. Maria sold Letterewe after his death in 1901.

Winstanley Hall and Balconie Castle passed on Eleanor's death in 1907 to her second but eldest surviving son, George Hildyard Bankes (1867-1949), who was the last person to fully occupy either house. During his lifetime, many of the coal mines which had sustained the prosperity of the estate in the 19th century were closed, and after the Second World War (when both Winstanley and Balconie were requisitioned for military use) he also sold Balconie to a local timber merchant who had no use for the house and let it rot until it became dangerous and had to be demolished. His estate was still comfortably over £400,000 when he died, however, so it is hard to see why his daughter, Joyce (1904-74), who wrote articles and a book about the history of the Winstanley estate and was clearly interested in the place, was apparently unable to afford to live in the house, even after paying the swingeing death duties of the time. In the 1950s, she and her husband, Ralph Vincent Bankes (who was no relation, but a member of the Bankes family of Soughton Hall in Flintshire), carved a family flat out of the house and more or less abandoned the rest of the building. By the 1980s the house was unoccupied and it has remained so ever since, sliding ever more rapidly into dereliction and ruin. The estate remains in the hands of the family, but the house and a small amount of surrounding land was sold in 2000 to a housing development company which first applied for permission to demolish the house and redevelop the site and then submitted a scheme for restoration that involved so much enabling development that it was rejected by Wigan Council. The house is now partly roofless and almost beyond economic repair, and one hopes a creative restoration solution - perhaps involving sale to a building preservation trust - can be found before a catastrophic collapse takes place.

Winstanley Hall, Wigan, Lancashire

There was probably a manor house of the eponymous Winstanley family here from the 13th century, for there is a moated site in the park which is likely to have been the location of a high status dwelling. However the present Winstanley Hall is essentially an Elizabethan stone house built for James Bankes (1542-1617) soon after he bought the estate in 1596. The main front faces east, and has a half-H plan with two projecting wings either side of a recessed centre, with square projections in the re-entrant angles, originally forming the entrance porch and hall bay. It is one of three houses in the Wigan area built in this form, the other two being Birchley Hall (1594) and Bispham Hall (c.1600-10). 

Winstanley Hall: an engraving of the house in 1817, showing it before the removal of the gables.

The centre, wings, and the projections in between were originally all gabled, but the gables were taken down and replaced by a plain parapet in the early 19th century. The house was traditionally planned, with a great hall in the centre, a great chamber above, the porch leading into a screens passage at the lower end (to the right), and a bay window lighting the dais at the upper end. The original elevation may not have been entirely symmetrical but it had evidently become so by the 19th century, when the window lighting the dais end of the hall had evidently become a second porch. 

Winstanley Hall: the south front built by Lewis Wyatt in 1818-19, from an old postcard.

Winstanley was extensively remodelled by Lewis Wyatt in 1818-19 for Meyrick Bankes (1768-1827). He created a new south front, clustered around a four storey central tower, which is quite convincingly in the same style as the original work, and is united with it by the continuous parapet. His new range must, however, incorporate earlier additions, for at the south-west corner is a canted bay of 1780, designed by L. Robinson but with an extra storey added by Wyatt. The west range is gabled and irregular, but some of it seems to date from the 1780 period. There were further extensions at the north end of the house (helpfully with datestones of 1843 and 1889), but again they incorporate some earlier work. The interior is, or perhaps more accurately was until recent dereliction, largely of the Lewis Wyatt period. The staircase hall has an elegant neo-classical ceiling rose and a delicate wrought iron balustrade, and what may have originally been a drawing room but was later used as a study retains a neo-classical chimneypiece and simple frieze.

To the north-east of the house stands a large stable yard, loosely enclosed by four free-standing ranges of different, mostly 19th century dates. In the centre of the yard is a big Neptune fountain of c.1830 by William Spence, with rearing horses executed in stone. The once secluded park was probably given its present form by Lewis Wyatt, who built the lodge and gatepiers on Pemberton Road in c.1818, and perhaps also the former walled garden. During the Second World War, Winstanley Hall was requisitioned for military use, and open-cast coal mining was begun in the park in 1942.  The hall survived military occupation, although there was some vandalism, but the coal mining in the park caused subsidence which affected part of the house, even though coal was not taken from directly under the building. In the 1960s, the construction of the M6 motorway cut the park in two. However, the landscape of the park was reinstated after mining finished (and the Bankes family carried out some subsequent tree planting), and the motorway is sunk in a cutting, so the setting was not fatally compromised by these developments.

Winstanley Hall: the current state of the building after
a partial collapse of the roof.
As far as I have been able to establish, in the 1950s the family created a flat within the house which they continued to use, while largely abandoning the rest of the building. The house remained thus partly occupied until 1984, but has since been wholly abandoned and allowed to decay. The property was sold to a developer in 2000 who applied for permission to demolish the house, which was refused after Save Britain's Heritage intervened and offered financial and professional support for a scheme involving the restoration of the buildings. SAVE has also drawn up a proposed scheme of reuse, but although the developer has submitted a number of planning applications, none have yet been approved, apparently because the level of enabling development required by the developer is unacceptable to the Council. This has led to an impasse in which the only change is that the house accelerates towards disaster, and the cost of restoration rapidly increases. Some stabilisation work was undertaken on the courtyard buildings in 2015, with financial support from the English Heritage, but the condition of the house is now very poor: it has suffered from dry rot and extensive water ingress and, as a result, the roof and ceilings have partially collapsed. At the time of writing, it can still be saved, but time is running out fast and it is very much to be hoped that a scheme satisfactory to all parties can be agreed soon.

Descent: sold 1596 to James Bankes (1542-1617); to son, William Bankes (1593-1666); to son, William Bankes (1631-76); to son, William Bankes (1658-90); to brother, Thomas Bankes (1659-1728); to son, Robert Bankes (1699-1748); to brother, William Bankes (1709-75); to son, William Bankes (1751-1800); to cousin, Rev. Thomas Holme (1733-1803); to son, Meyrick Holme (later Bankes) (1768-1827); to son, Meyrick Bankes (1811-81); to daughter, Eleanor Starkie Letterewe (1837-1907), wife of William John Murray (later Bankes) (1835-84); to son, George Hildyard Bankes (1867-1949); to daughter, Joyce Helena Murray (1904-74), wife of Capt. Edward William Jervis Bankes RN (1904-84) ....sold 2000 (with 10 acres) to Dorbcrest Homes. Much of the surrounding estate still belongs to the Bankes family.

Letterewe House, Ross & Cromarty

Letterewe House: the house as it exists today

The house began as a minor laird's house on the estate of the Mackenzies of Gairloch, described as 'a good seat' in 1813, and reputedly having 16th or 17th century origins. The house can still only be reached by boat across Loch Maree or on foot, and the large estate (81,000 acres in 1996) is one of the most remote parts of the British Isles. Successive remodellings, including a major one in 1858 for Meyrick Bankes (1811-81) and another after 1976 for Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, have turned the house into a pretty white-harled baronial shooting lodge with bartisans on the corners, tall dormers breaking into the roof, and a pyramidal-roofed tower with a cupola on top. The house is now available for short-term rental on a self-catering basis.

Descent: Hector Mackenzie sold 1835 to Meyrick Bankes (1811-81); to daughter, Maria Ann (1839-1904), wife of Lt-Gen. W.C. Robertson Macdonald and later of Paul Liot (later Bankes) (d. 1901); sold 1901 to Lawrence Dundas (1844-1929), 3rd Earl and later 1st Marquess of Zetland, who gave it c.1922 to his son, Lawrence John Lumley Dundas (1876-1961), 2nd Marquess of Zetland; sold to Col. Bill Whitbread (1900-94), who sold 1977 to Paul Fentener van Vlissingen (1941-2006); to daughters Alicia and Tannetta Fentener van Vlissingen.

Balconie Castle, Evanton, Ross & Cromarty

An early 19th century castellated house, built on the site of a medieval tower house, and said to have incorporated part of its fabric. It was constructed for Alexander Fraser, who managed one of Evan Baillie's estates in Grenada and married his daughter; he purchased the estate in 1806 and later founded the adjoining village of Evanton. His house was a six-bay, three-storey block with a central tower and a service wing to one side. It was essentially a rather plain building with sash windows, but was given a touch of Gothick fantasy by a crenellated parapet all round, which was repeated on the top of the tower.

Balconie Castle: the house in the early 20th century, from an old postcard.

The house was altered internally and extended by Andrew Maitland & Sons for George H. Bankes in 1891-92, shortly after he and his mother jointly purchased the property, and was subsequently used as a holiday home and a base for shooting and fishing in the summer months. During the Second World War the house was requisitioned by the Army and troops were billeted there. After the War, George Bankes sold the estate to A.J.M. Munro, a timber-merchant from Alness, who allowed the house to remain empty. It gradually became derelict and a target for vandalism, and by 1968 it was deemed unsafe and was blown up. The stables and some outbuildings survived and were later converted into a private house.

Descent: built c.1806 for Alexander Fraser (1759-1837); sold 1838 to Hugh Munro of Teaninich; given to illegitimate daughter, Catherine (d. 1877), later wife of [forename unknown] Reid; to cousin, Mary Mackenzie, who sold 1890 to George Hildyard Bankes (1867-1949) and his mother, Eleanor Starkie Letterewe Bankes (1837-1907); he sold 1948 to A.J.M. Munro, who demolished the house in 1968. 

Bankes family of Winstanley Hall

Bankes, James (1542-1617). Reputedly the son of William Bankes of Wigan, born 1542. Citizen, goldsmith and moneylender of London, in partnership with John Ballett until 1576;  retired between 1590 and 1592; by industry and sharp practice he built a substantial fortune, which from 1576 onwards he increasingly salted away in the purchase of land, especially land with mineral resources in the form of coal. He was litigious, and the rector of Wigan noted that he was "of great wealth and riches, and by means thereof grown to be a very proud and insolent man". He married 1st, 6 June 1575 at St Vedast, Foster Lane, London, Elizabeth, daughter of his partner John Ballett, and 2nd, c.1590, Susan (d. 1627/8), daughter of William Sherrington of London, haberdasher, and had issue:
(1.1) A son, who died young;
(2.1) John Bankes (d. 1592); died in infancy and was buried at Wigan, 13 August 1592;
(2.2) William Bankes (1593-1666) (q.v.);
(2.3) Thomas Bankes (1595-1651), baptised at Wigan, 21 December 1595; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1613); barrister-at-law in London; married, 1626, Elizabeth, daughter of William Bispham and widow of Edward Cotton of Cotton Hall (Cheshire); died 1651;
(2.4) Margaret Bankes (b. c.1600); married, 1625, George Hyde of Urmston (Lancs);
(2.5) Ralph Bankes (b. c.1600), born about 1600; living in 1617;
(2.6) James Bankes (1603-61), baptised at Wigan, 12 October 1603; buried at Wigan, 22 August 1661.
He purchased the manor of Winstanley in 1596 and built Winstanley Hall soon afterwards. His second wife inherited substantial property, including Wardley Hall, from her family before 1601, when she sold it to other members of her family.
He died 4 August 1617 and was buried at Wigan the following day; his will was proved at Chester, 29 October 1617 (effects £336). His first wife died before 1590. His widow died in 1627/8 and was buried at Wigan.

Bankes, William (1593-1666). Eldest surviving son of James Bankes (1542-1617) and his second wife Susan, daughter of William Sherrington of London, merchant, baptised at Wigan, 30 December 1593. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1613). He maintained a stance of neutrality throughout the Civil War and successfully preserved his property intact. He married 1st, 1613, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Ireland, kt., of Bewsey Hall (Lancs) and 2nd, 20 May 1624 at Chastleton (Oxon), Sara (1590?-1668), daughter of Walter Jones of Chastleton House, and had issue:
(1.1) James Bankes (1614-59), baptised at Wigan, 15 May 1614; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1634); died in the lifetime of his father and was buried at Wigan, 12? February 1658/9;
(1.2) Thomas Bankes (1615-57?), baptised at Wigan, 15 August 1615; died in the lifetime of his father, and was perhaps the man of this name buried at Wigan, 30 April 1657;
(1.3) William Bankes (b. & d. 1619), baptised at Wigan, 15 June 1619; died in infancy and was buried at Wigan, 29 June 1619;
(2.1) William Bankes (1630-76) (q.v.).
He inherited Winstanley Hall from his father in 1617.
He was buried at Wigan, 13 October 1666. His first wife was buried at Wigan, 2 April 1621. His widow was buried at Wigan, 25 June 1668.

Bankes, William (1630-76). Only recorded son of William Bankes (1593-1666) and his second wife, Sara, daughter of Walter Jones of Chastleton (Oxon), baptised at Wigan, 19 August 1630. MP for Newton, 1660 and Liverpool, 1675-76; JP for Lancashire, 1665-66, 1670-76; DL for Lancashire, 1660-62, 1663?-76; Vice-Admiral of Lancashire and Cheshire, 1673-76; Commissioner for Assessment, 1660-74; joint Farmer of the Excise for Lancashire, 1665-74; Freeman of Liverpool by 1670. He was a client of the Earls of Derby, who promoted his career and persuaded King Charles II to accept him as a Deputy Lieutenant. As an MP, he was a supporter of the Court, but in the early 1660s, he employed the deprived Presbyterian minister, Adam Martindale, as tutor to his children. He married, 23 October 1656, Frances (d. 1693?), daughter of Peter Legh of Bruche (Lancs), and granddaughter of Sir Peter Legh of Lyme Park, and had issue:
(1) William Bankes (1658-90) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Bankes (1659-1728) (q.v.);
(3) Rev. James Bankes (1660-1742), born 1660; educated at St Paul's School, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1679; BA 1682/3; MA 1686); Tutor and Librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1691-1706; rector of Lilley (Herts), 1706-09; rector of Bury (Lancs), 1710-43 and vicar of Heywood (Lancs), 1729-42; died unmarried and was buried at Wigan*, 21 May 1743;
(4) Sarah Maria Bankes (1663-1748); died without issue;
(5) Frances Bankes (b. 1665), baptised at Wigan, 23 May 1665; died young before 1670;
(6) Legh Bankes (1666-1705), baptised at Wigan, 30 August 1666; educated at Grays Inn, London (admitted 1685); married, 19 August 1703 at Ashton-in-Makerfield (Lancs), Alice, widow of Thomas Launder of Newhall, Ashton; buried at Wigan, 5 October 1703;
(7) Charles Bankes (1667-71), baptised at Wigan, 20 February 1667/8; died young and was buried at Wigan, 8 August 1671;
(8) Anne Bankes (1669-72), baptised at Wigan, 28 October 1669; died young and was buried at Wigan, 18 June 1672;
(9) Frances Bankes (1670-1745), baptised at Wigan, 22 February 1670; married, Edward Morgan (b. 1669) of Golden Grove (Flints.) and had issue including Catherine (who married Robert Bankes (1699-1748) (q.v.)); died 1744/5;
(10) Piers Bankes (b. & d. 1673), baptised at Wigan, 6 February 1672/3; died in infancy and was buried at Wigan, 5 April 1673;
(11) Elizabeth Bankes (b. 1675), baptised at Wigan, 31 August 1675; married, 1711, her cousin Richard Legh (1679-1740), Captain of Horse, third son of Richard Legh of Lyme Park, but died without issue.
He inherited Winstanley Hall from his father in 1666.
He died 6 July 1676 and was buried at Chastleton (Oxon); his will was proved in the PCC, 9 November 1676. His widow is said to have died in 1693.
* According to an entry in the Bury parish register.

Bankes, William (1658-90). Eldest son of William Bankes (1630-76) and his wife Frances, daughter of Peter Legh of Bruche (Lancs), born 24 August 1658. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1676) and Grays Inn (admitted 1676). MP for Wigan, 1679, 1688-89 on the interest of the Earl of Derby. JP for Lancashire, 1683-88, 1689-90 and DL for Lancashire, 1689-90. Bailiff of Liverpool, 1685-88. He married, 31 March 1687 at Wigan, his cousin Lettice (1663-1719), daughter of Richard Legh of Lyme Park (Cheshire), but had no issue.
He inherited Winstanley Hall from his father in 1676 and came of age in 1679.
He died 10 January 1689/90 and was buried at Wigan. His widow married 2nd, 1700, Thomas Fleetwood, and died in 1719.

Bankes, Thomas (1659-1729). Second son of William Bankes (1630

Monday, 31 December 2018

(357) Bankes of Soughton Hall

Bankes of Soughton Hall
The Bankes family of Soughton Hall are a cadet branch of the Bankes family of Kingston Lacy, about whom I have written previously. The ownership of Soughton Hall was separated from that of the main estate when William John Bankes fled into exile in 1841, and divided his property between his brothers to prevent it being seized by the Crown when he was outlawed. The Soughton estate passed to his youngest brother, the Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867), who was already a wealthy man as a result of his first marriage to the daughter of the Lord Chancellor, John Scott (1751-1838), 1st Earl of Eldon. Edward held a number of clerical positions in plurality (in a way which was increasingly frowned upon in the mid 19th century), but seems to have lived in the close at Gloucester, where he held a canonry, and there is little evidence that he ever moved to Soughton Hall, although it would appear that some building work was done there in the 1840s to incorporate materials sent from Kingston Lacy and perhaps directly by the exiled William John Bankes. By his two wives, Edward Bankes raised a large family, but his heir at Soughton was his eldest son, John Scott Bankes (1826-94), who settled on the estate before his father's death and became a model Victorian squire, active in public life and in promoting agricultural improvement, temperance, and local charities. 

By his first wife, the daughter of the Chief Justice of Common Pleas, John Scott Bankes had ten children, and his eldest and youngest sons both became barristers. The eldest son, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946) succeeded to the Soughton estate on his father's death, but while he enjoyed the management of the property he was obliged to spend a great deal of his time in London, as he accrued increasingly senior judicial appointments. These culminated in his becoming an appeal court judge and privy councillor from 1915 until his retirement in 1927, and alongside this role he also took responsibility for drafting a new constitution for the Church in Wales after it was disestablished in 1920. 

Sir John was succeeded in 1946 by his only surviving son, Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975), who trained as a barrister but became a public servant and later secretary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He retired to Soughton in 1950 and lived there until his death in 1975. His widow survived him for ten years, dying at the great age of 95 in 1985, but after her death the house was sold by his children and became an hotel. Many of the contents of the house were sold in the 1980s, including a large picture which was probably acquired by William John Bankes on the Continent. This was sold as being 'after Rubens' and made £2,000 at auction, but subsequent investigations, after it was acquired by an American art gallery, led to its authentication as a genuine work by Rubens himself, and potentially worth many millions of pounds. Perhaps, if this had been known in the 1980s, its sale would have allowed the family to remain at Soughton.

Soughton Hall, Northop, Flintshire

An interesting and highly unusual house, the development of which is sadly not very well recorded. At the core is an early 18th century building constructed for Edward Conway, who inherited in 1689 and sold the estate when he ran out of money in 1732. It is not clear when he built the house, as there is inconclusive evidence for building in both 1714 and 1727, though the latter seems a more likely date on stylistic grounds. The house was of three storeys and had eleven bay fronts to south and north. The entrance front faced south, as now, and was approached by a long avenue of lime trees. It was of brick with stone dressings, and markedly Baroque in form, with complicated articulation, a Corinthian order, and a great deal of rustication. The north front, by contrast, was much simpler, in plain brick. The house was sold in 1732 to John Wynne, Bishop of Bath & Wells but previously Bishop of St. Asaph, who may have been responsible for completing the fitting out of the house, constructing the forecourt walls and gates, and building the stables, to which the Bankes coat of arms were added after 1815. Inside the house, it is still possible to get a sense of the 18th century origins of the building, especially in the open-well staircase, which preserves its swept rail, carved tread ends and fluted balusters. The entrance hall is also basically 18th century in its form, although now decorated with woodcarvings which were added in the 19th century.

In 1815 the estate passed to William John Bankes (1786-1855) [for whom see my account of the Bankes family of Kingston Lacy], who spent nearly a decade travelling and collecting works of art and antiquities in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Egypt and the Middle East. While in Egypt, he made the acquaintance of the young architect Charles Barry, and on his return to Britain in 1820 he determined to make his home at Soughton until such time as he should inherit Kingston Lacy. The house was no doubt rather tired and old-fashioned in 1820, and Bankes brought in Barry to help him carry out a rather eccentric remodelling which he claimed was inspired by his Spanish travels. The form in which the house was recast is generally taken to be result of Barry carrying out Bankes' own designs. However, the drawings by Bankes held by the National Trust which seem to relate to Soughton show a poor command of perspective, and are on paper with a watermark date of 1805.  They show alternative designs for remodelling a Georgian house in an Italianate style, though some of the ideas that were executed in the final designs are evident in them. There are a number of problems with these drawings, however, not least that they show a nine-bay house rather than the eleven-bay one which existed, and in view of this and the early watermark date, it seems possible that they are early proposals, drawn from memory while Bankes was abroad. 

Soughton Hall: the south front as altered in the 1820s.

Soughton Hall: the north front as altered in the 1820s.

The executed scheme, though still highly eccentric by the standards of conventional taste, exhibits much less awkwardness, and was therefore probably a combination of Bankes' ideas with Barry's professional skills. Pavilions were added above the two outer bays at either end of the house, which ran back for the whole depth of the house. They had aracaded walls and steep hipped roofs carried on bracketed eaves. The north front was given mullioned and oriel windows and a canted central porch (intended to be a new main entrance) that rose into a hexagonal belvedere turret with an ogee roof. The centre of the first and second floors was remodelled to accommodate two two-storey rooms (a dining room on the north and a saloon to the south). 

Soughton Hall: the house in an early photograph showing it before the alterations of 1867-69.
The south front was all but rebuilt with round-headed Gothick-glazed sash windows either side of the centre, and a prominent pitched roof with a central cupola over the central three bays. Tall mullioned and transomed windows on the first and second floors lit the saloon, and there was a shallow classical colonnade on the ground floor, at either end of which were single-storey porches with flat roofs and balustrades, that served as terraces for the first floor rooms on either side. After William John Bankes went abroad in 1841 and made over his estates to his brothers, he continued to buy works of art and antiquities and ship them to England for incorporation in Kingston Lacy, and some of the things they displaced found their way to Soughton in the 1840s, including a set of Gobelin tapestries and a huge Rubens cartoon, and the interiors may well have been modified to accommodate them: the ceiling of the saloon in particular appears to be of the 1840s.

Soughton Hall: the house was remodelled in 1867-69 giving the form in which it exists today.

A further remodelling was carried out in 1867-69 for John Scott Bankes immediately after he inherited the estate from his father, which gave the house its present Victorian character. His architect was the young John Douglas of Chester, who also built the Lower Lodge of 1868 and an octagonal game larder of 1872. His alterations to the house included casing it with hard red brick with stone dressings; removing the classical colonnade with porches at either end and building a new central porch; and replacing the arch-headed Gothick-glazed sashes on the entrance front with rectangular mullioned and transomed windows - those on the second floor having round-headed tympana above them, pierced with quatrefoils inside circles. The saloon roof and the pavilions at either end of the facade were retained, but the central cupola was replaced by a spiky Gothic turret. On the north side, the porch was given a more massive base, and the central turret was modified and given a less playful roof. Less was done inside the house, but the saloon and dining room and several other rooms all now have High Victorian chimneypieces.

The Bankes family remained at Soughton until 1987, when the house was sold and converted for use as a boutique hotel, with the stable block becoming a restaurant. Both properties were acquired in 2016 by Elle R Leisure of Manchester, which has refocused the business as a wedding and events venue.

Descent: John Conway (d. 1680); to son, John Conway (d. 1689); to son, Edward Conway, who sold 1732 to Rt. Rev. John Wynne (1667-1743); to son, John Wynne (d. 1801); to brother, Sir William Wynne (d. 1815); to great-nephew, William John Bankes (1786-1855); who gave it in 1841 to his brother, Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867); to son, John Scott Bankes (1826-94); to son, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Banks (1854-1946), kt.; to son, Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975); to children, who sold 1987 (after the death of their mother in 1985) to John and Rosemary Rodenhurst, who converted the house into an hotel; sold 2016 to Elle R Leisure of Manchester.

Bankes family of Soughton Hall

Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867)
Bankes, Rev. Edward (1794-1867). Fourth son of Henry Bankes (1757-1834) of Kingston Lacy (Dorset) and his wife Frances (1760-1823), daughter of William Woodley, Lieutenant-Governor of Antigua, 1786-88, born 13 August and baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 30 September 1794. Educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1812; BCL 1818). Ordained deacon and priest, 1818; rector of Corfe Castle, 1818-54; vicar of Stoke Bliss (Herefs), 1820-23 and East Farleigh (Kent), 1823-32; canon residentiary of Gloucester Cathedral, 1821-67 and of Bristol Cathedral, 1832-67; chaplain in ordinary to King George IV, King William IV and Queen Victoria, 1820-67. According to a contemporary, "although he became enormously rich upon the death of his father-in-law, Mr Bankes continued to hold his preferments for some years after he was incapable of performing the duties attached to them - this was, however, natural enough seeing that he had rendered very perfunctory service when in his vigour". JP and DL for Flintshire. He married 1st, 6 April 1820, Lady Frances Jane (1798-1838), daughter of Rt. Hon. John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, Lord Chancellor of England, and 2nd, 3 September 1839, Maria (1809-86), third daughter of Very Rev. & Hon. Edward Rice DD, Dean of Gloucester, 1825-62, and had issue:
(1.1) John Scott Bankes (1826-94) (q.v.);
(1.2) Frances Bankes (1827-89), baptised at Corfe Castle, 29 September 1827; married, 11 August 1846 at Corfe Castle, Sheffield Serrell (1814-58) of Durnford House, Langton Maltravers (Dorset), son of Rev. Samuel Serrell, but had no issue; died 2 July 1889; will proved 2 September 1889 (effects £6,431);
(1.3) Rev. Eldon Surtees Bankes (1829-1915), born 27 September and baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 16 November 1829; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (matriculated 1847; BA 1851; MA 1864); ordained deacon, 1853 and priest, 1854; rector of Corfe Castle, 1854-99, prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral, 1872-99; rural dean of Dorchester, 1875-98; canon residentiary of Salisbury Cathedral, 1898-1915; married, 9 October 1856, his cousin, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Scott (1834-64) and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 1 February 1915; will proved 8 April 1915 (estate £7,978);
(1.4) Henry Eldon George Bankes (1836-65), born 2 July and baptised at Corfe Castle, 29 August 1836; an officer in 4th Dragoons (Cornet, 1853); became an insolvent debtor, 1854; fled abroad and was outlawed, 1862; buried at Boulogne (France), 28 October 1865;
(2.1) Georgina Maria Bankes (1842-1909), baptised at Corfe Castle, 24 February 1842; died unmarried, 22 December, and was buried at Radipole (Dorset), 24 December 1909; will proved 25 January 1910 (estate £8,214);
(2.2) Mary Frances Bankes (1844-1923), baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 13 June 1843; married, 29 April 1862 at St Mary de Lode, Gloucester, Philip Pennant Pennant (1834-1910) of Nantllys (Flints), son of Rev. George Pearson, rector of Castle Camps (Cambs), and had issue one son and three daughters; died 30 June 1923; will proved 20 November 1923 (estate £8,377);
(2.3) Rosa Bankes (1845-1912), baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 31 May 1845; married, 28 January 1868 at Radipole (Dorset), Rev. George James (1837-1910), minor canon of Gloucester Cathedral, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 8 May 1912; will proved 2 September 1912 (estate £3,402);
(2.4) twin, Emma Bankes (1847-1901), baptised at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, 17 June 1847; married, 5 June 1873 at Radipole, Edward Alexander Cameron (d. 1905), civil engineer, son of Rev. Alexander Cameron, but had no issue; died 13 February 1901; administration of goods granted to husband, 8 March 1901 (estate £1,788);
(2.5) twin, Frederica Bankes (1847-1926), baptised at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, 17 June 1847; married, 5 June 1873 at Radipole, Col. John George Skene (1837-1916) and had issue two daughters; died 12 March 1926; will proved 14 May 1926 (estate £7,939). 
He received Soughton Hall (Flints) as a gift when his brother William went into exile. 
He died at Gloucester, 24 May 1867; his will proved 22 June 1867 (effects under £60,000). His first wife died 6 August 1838. His widow died 17 April 1886; her will was proved 15 May 1886 (effects £1,564).

John Scott Bankes (1826-94)
Bankes, John Scott (1826-94). Elder son of Rev. Edward Bankes of Soughton Hall (Flints) and his first wife, Lady Frances Jane, daughter of John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon, born 11 July 1826. Educated at Eton, Queen's College and University College, Oxford (matriculated 1844; BA 1848); JP for Dorset; JP for Flintshire (Chairman of Quarter Sessions, 1864-94); High Sheriff of Flintshire, 1869-70; DL for Flintshire from 1853; Chairman of Holywell Board of Guardians, 1885-92; Member of Flintshire County Council, 1889-94 (Vice-Chairman). He was a moderate Liberal and later a Liberal Unionist in politics, and was at one time invited to stand for Parliament in Flintshire; he was also a supporter of the temperance movement, and worked to reduce the number of public houses licenced in the county. He had a keen interest in agricultural matters, especially stock breeding, and his Home Farm at Soughton was regarded as a model of efficiency. He married 1st, 2 August 1849, Annie (1828-76), daughter of Sir John Jervis, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (in whose office he was briefly a pupil), and 2nd, 1883, Adelaide Sophia (1843-1930), youngest daughter of Rev. George Pearson, rector of Castle Camps (Cambs), and had issue:
(1.1) Frances Catherine Bankes (1851-1907), born 9 March and baptised at St Michael, Pimlico (London), 10 April 1851; married, 22 November 1870, Rev. Frederick Clements Williamson (1846-99), son of Samuel Williamson, solicitor, and had issue four sons and three daughters; in 1901 she was a resident patient at Spelthorne St Mary Sanatorium (for women with drug or alcohol addictions), Thorpe (Surrey); died in West Kensington (Middx), 8 March 1907; will proved 2 May 1907 (estate £1,625);
(1.2) Annie Georgina Bankes (1852-56), baptised at St Michael, Pimlico (London), 17 November 1852; died young and was buried at Northop, 15 October 1856;
(1.3) Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946), kt. (q.v.);
(1.4) Rev. Edward Wynne Jervis Bankes (1855-99), born 2 December 1855; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (matriculated 1875; BA 1878; MA 1881); ordained deacon, 1879 and priest, 1880; held curacies in London, 1879-85; vicar of St Augustine, South Hackney (Middx), 1885-99; died unmarried of pneumonia, 21 March, and was buried at Northop, 25 March 1899;
(1.5) Mabel Grace Bankes (1857-1919), born 14 November and baptised at Northop, 17 December 1857; married 1st, 5 February 1880, Arthur Robert Wiggin (1850-1903), coffee planter in Ceylon, son of Rev. William Wiggin, rector of Hampnett (Glos); married 2nd, 23 September 1905, as his second wife, Walter Turing Mackenzie (1856-1919), company director, third son of Rt. Rev. Henry Mackenzie, suffragan bishop of Nottingham; died 9 February 1919; will proved 25 April 1919 (estate £3,232);
(1.6) Margaret Wynne Bankes (1859-1956), born 27 August and baptised at Northop, 24 September 1859; married, 6 June 1882, Robert William Wynne-Eyton (1854-1919), son of Thomas Wynne-Eyton of The Tower, Mold (Flints), but had no issue; died aged 96 at Rani Khet, Uttar Pradesh (India) on 1 February 1956; administration of goods (with will annexed) granted 22 August 1960 (estate in England, £152);
(1.7) Adelaide Mary Bankes (1861-1933), born 21 September and baptised at Northop, 14 October 1861; worked as Red Cross volunteer, 1917-19; married, 16 January 1883 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), Charles Henry Ashton (d. 1905) and had issue four children; died 12 December 1933; will proved 17 February 1934 (estate £726);
(1.8) Rose Caroline Bankes (1863-1940), born 19 July and baptised at Northop, 8 August 1863; married 1st, 23 July 1890, Walter Howman Buddicom (d. 1892) of Penbedw (Flints) but had no issue; married 2nd, April 1896, Walter Baldwyn Yates CBE JP (1857-1947) of Cilcen Hall, Mold (Flints), barrister-at-law, and had issue three daughters; died 4 July 1940; will proved 8 November 1940 (estate £16,581);
(1.9) Amy Charlotte Bankes (1865-1958), born 23 August and baptised at Northop, 19 September 1865; married, 17 April 1895, Thomas Owen JP (1860-1935), son of William Owen of Blessington (Co. Wicklow) and had issue one son and one daughter; lived latterly at Hawarden (Flints); died aged 92 on 4 June 1958; cremated and her ashes buried at Hawarden, 27 August 1958; will proved 14 August 1958 (estate £532);
(1.10) Ralph Vincent Bankes (1867-1921), born 17 March 1867; educated at Winchester, University College, Oxford (matriculated 1886; BA 1889) and Inner Temple (admitted 1887; called to bar, 1890); barrister-at-law on the Chester & North Wales circuit (KC, 1910); Metropolitan Police magistrate, 1917-21; married, 19 December 1895 at Wasing (Berks), Ethel Georgina (1865-1949), daughter of William George Mount MP of Wasing Place and had issue two sons; died 26 October 1921; will proved 3 January 1922 (estate £17,457).
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1867 and remodelled it in 1867-69.
He died 16 September 1894; his will was proved 12 February 1895 (effects £32,892). His first wife died 21 October 1876. His widow died 7 December 1930; her will was proved 27 March 1931 (estate £21,889).

Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946)
Image: National Portrait Gallery.
Bankes, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon (1854-1946), kt. Eldest son of John Scott Bankes (1826-94) and his first wife, Annie, daughter of Sir John Jervis, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, born 17 April 1854. Educated at Eton, University College, Oxford (matriculated 1872; BA 1877; rowing blue) and Inner Temple (called to bar 1878; bencher 1899; Treasurer, 1923). Barrister-at-law (KC, 1901), with a common law practice; Chancellor of diocese of St. Asaph, 1908-10; judge of High Court of Justice, Kings Bench division, 1910-15; sworn of Privy Council, 1915; Lord Justice of Appeal, 1915-27; retired 1927; Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Education in Rural Wales, 1928. JP for Flintshire and Chairman of Flintshire Quarter Sessions for 33 years. A Conservative in politics, he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1906 and was a member of Flintshire County Council (Chairman, 1933). With Lord Sankey, he drafted the new constitution of the Church in Wales after it was dis-established in 1920. He was knighted, 1 October 1910 and promoted to GCB, 2 January 1928. He received honorary degrees from the Universities of Manchester (LLD, 1923) and Wales (LLD, 1921), and was a Fellow of Eton College, 1905-12 and an Hon. Fellow of University College, Oxford, 1923-46. He is described as "Modest, unassuming, and courteous, good-looking, tall and athletic, with a dry sense of humour", and won a high reputation as a careful, clear-headed, and able lawyer, whose rulings in the Court of Appeal were rarely challenged in the House of Lords. He married, 10 August 1882, Edith (1856-1931), daughter of Robert Peel Ethelston of Hinton Whitchurch (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1) John Ethelston Eldon Bankes (1884-1908), born 23 June and baptised at Christ Church, Chelsea (Middx), 24 July 1884; educated at Eton, University College, Oxford and Inner Temple (admitted 1904; called to bar, 1907); barrister-at-law; died unmarried, 15 May and was buried at Northop, 19 May 1908; will proved 4 July 1908 (estate £2,550);
(2) Margaret Annie Bankes (1885-1932), born 29 November 1885; married, 29 July 1908, Sir Wilfrid Hubert Poyer Lewis (1881-1950), kt., High Court judge (who m2, 1934, Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. David Barty King of London), son of Arthur Griffith Poyer Lewis, barrister-at-law, of Henllan, near Narberth, (Pembs), and had issue one son and three daughters; died 6 January 1932;
(3) Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975) (q.v.);
(4) Ruth Edith Bankes (1891-1967), born 28 January 1891; married, 16 April 1912, Maj. William Marshall Dugdale DSO JP (1881-1952), of Llwyn, Llanfyllin (Montgomerys.), and had issue one son and two daughters; died 18 May 1967; will proved 3 January 1968 (estate £18,005).
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1894.
He died 31 December 1946, was cremated on 4 January, and his ashes were buried at Northop on 7 January 1947; his will was proved in March 1947 (estate £84,258). His wife died 30 March 1931.

Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975)
Bankes, Robert Wynne (1887-1975). Younger but only surviving son of Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946) and his wife Edith, daughter of Robert Peel Ethelston of Hinton Whitchurch (Shrops.), born 23 June 1887. Educated at Eton, University College, Oxford (BA 1908) and Inner Temple (called to bar, 1908). Barrister-at-law; served in First World War as an officer in Montgomeryshire Yeomanry (Capt.; mentioned in despatches); ADC to Brig-Gen. Godwin 1917-18 and Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby, 1918-19; private secretary to successive Lord Chancellors, and Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords, 1919-29; Secretary of Institute of Chartered Accountants, 1936-50 (Asst Sec. 1929-36); High Sheriff of Flintshire, 1945. He was appointed CBE, 1925. He married, 23 January 1916 at the Temple Church, London, Mabel Elizabeth (1890-1985), second daughter of Maj. Henry Pelham-Burn of Kirkmichael (Dumfries.), and had issue:
(1) John Wynne Bankes (1916-2009), born 5 November 1916; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (BA 1938); served in Second World War with 14th/20th Kings Hussars (Capt.) and on general staff in India and Burma; solicitor; High Sheriff of Clwyd, 1975; lived at Mynachlog, Northop (Flints); married, 12 February 1945, Althea Dykes (1918-2007), youngest daughter of Sir Dykes Spicer, 2nd bt., and widow of Joseph Alwyn Francis Baxendale, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died aged 93, 24 February 2009; will proved 16 July 2009;
(2) David Lindsay Bankes (1919-2016), born 18 April 1919; educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge; served in Second World War with Scots Guards, 1940-46 (mentioned in despatches); employed by Alginate Industries Ltd. from 1947; married, 19 May 1945, Muriel (1919-2013), younger daughter of J.C. Cunningham of Stoke Poges (Bucks), and had issue one son and one daughter; died aged 96, 12 April 2016; will proved 19 September 2016;
(3) Joanna Elizabeth Bankes (1922-2006), born 1 August 1922; married 1st, 2 May 1942 at the Royal Military Chapel in Wellington Barracks (London), Lt. Michael King Maconchy (1919-44), second son of John King Maconchy of Hillside, Carrickmines (Co. Dublin) and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, 7 October 1950, as his second wife, Hujohn Armstrong Ripman (d. 2010), gynaecologist, son of Christian Hugo Ripman, but had no further issue; died 30 July 2006; will proved 14 November 2006.
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1946. The house was sold in 1987 following the death of his widow.
He died 18 July 1975; his will was proved 16 March 1976 (estate £144,580). His widow died aged 95, 20 December 1985; her will was proved 28 April 1986 (estate £1,297).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, pp. 101-02; E. Hubbard, The buildings of Wales: Clwyd, 1986, pp. 408-10; E. Hubbard, The work of John Douglas, 1991, p. 240.

Location of archives

Conway, Wynne and Bankes families of Soughton Hall: deeds, estate, legal and family papers, 1551-1965 [Flintshire Record Office, D/SH; D/DM 298]

Coat of arms

Sable, a cross engrailed ermine, between four fleurs-de-lis or.

Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry

  • I would be most grateful if anyone can provide additional genealogical or career information about this family, or provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above. 
  • As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 31 December 2018.